Free agents Bonds, Lofton key parts of MLBPA investigation

Updated: May 7, 2008, 10:59 AM ET
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

The MLB players' association has opened an investigation into the free-agent market. The MLBPA has been investigating for several weeks what has taken place in free agency, in relation to Barry Bonds, Kenny Lofton and other players who have gone unsigned. It is something they have done in the past.

Help Wanted

Barry Bonds isn't the only big-name player that hasn't gotten a major league contract this season. Here are some others:

Player
Pos.
Last
Team
Barry Bonds OF SF
Roger Clemens RHP NYY
Kenny Lofton OF TEX
Jose Mesa RHP PHI
Mike Piazza C OAK
Sammy Sosa OF TEX
David Wells LHP SD

MLBPA general counsel Michael Weiner, when asked if they were near a resolution, said, "I really don't know. We're still waiting for some information."

If the MLBPA determines something is untoward, it could file a grievance on the issue of collusion at the end of the investigation.

"The union notified us that it was investigating potential collusion regarding Barry Bonds and asked for information, and we told them that there was absolutely no collusion with respect to Barry Bonds or any other free agent," said Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general labor counsel. "We are aware of no facts which would support a collusion claim regarding Bonds or any other free agents."

Jeff Borris, the agent for Bonds, said, "No team has made me an offer for any amount at any time since Barry became a free agent."

Borris added that "Barry continues to work out," but when asked about his client's prospects for this season, he said, "I'm not optimistic that he will be in a major league uniform in 2008."

Recently, the Mariners and the Tigers have developed what would seem to be a classic situation for Bonds -- the need for a left-handed hitter and an opening at designated hitter -- and still no offers have come in.

Buster Olney is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine